Nonprofit Hybrid Auctions 101

More and more nonprofits are holding hybrid auctions for their fundraising events. Nonprofit hybrid auctions take place both in-person and online. They are made possible through the use of auction software (like AuctionSnap) that allows mobile or online bidding.

Nonprofits who choose to make their auctions hybrid can benefit from higher participation and ultimately raise more money for their organizations. 

If your nonprofit is new to the auction game or wants to hold a hybrid auction but doesn’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about hybrid auctions and how they can benefit your nonprofit auction.

What is a Nonprofit Hybrid Auction?

Nonprofit hybrid auctions allow guests to participate in person or from a remote location. Generally, a nonprofit will have a live auction component at their fundraising event. However, all auction items will be available for viewing and bidding online as well. Nonprofit Auction Software like AuctionSnap enables hybrid auctions to take place.

Benefits of Nonprofit Hybrid Auctions

Hybrid auctions offer nonprofits the best of both worlds. In-person participation adds to camaraderie and a feeling of community. This helps drive up bids, especially if your nonprofit chooses to host a paddle raise as well. 

By offering a remote option, auctions become more accessible. Guests who couldn’t normally attend can now participate. More participants drive up the number of bids and the value of your auction items. Also, a remote option allows nonprofits to reach more guests and potentially inspire new donors to engage with their events.

In addition, a hybrid auction allows nonprofits to extend the length of their auctions. Instead of just being one night, nonprofits can choose to open bidding early. This in turn can result in more bidding and more money raised for your cause.

A nonprofit that recently used DonorSnap highlighted some additional benefits of running a hybrid auction with AuctionSnap:

1. The ease our donors had checking out at the end of the auction. There was no long line like in past years everyone was able to check out quickly and easily from their phone. 

2. Having the ability for donors to set up and auto-bid on silent auction items allowed them to really enjoy the event without having to go back and always check the bid sheets. 

3. Donors who could not make the event still had the ability to bid on items and make donations right from their phones. 

(Source: Capterra)

Image of the review from Capterra.

Setting up a Successful Hybrid Auction

Secure Items for Your Auction: 

The success of your nonprofit’s auction will depend on the work you do ahead of time. It’s important to give yourself enough time to secure auction items for your event. Knowing your audience and what sort of items they would want will ensure people want to participate and bid on items. Think about what sort of items you want for your auction. From there develop a plan to reach out to potential donors of auction items. 

Determine Live Auction and Silent Auction Items: 

Once you have secured auction items, you will want to determine which ones will be available for remote bidding. Consider whether you’ll have an actual live auction at your event with an auctioneer or Emcee. Don’t worry, you can list your live auction items in AuctionSnap, but people cannot bid on them from a remote location.

Set Opening and Closing Times for Your Silent Auction Items: 

If you are hosting a hybrid auction, you can choose to open your bidding prior to your event. Opening bidding prior to the event could result in higher bids in the long run. However, your in-person guests might prefer you don’t open bidding until the actual event. This is a strategic decision that is up to your organization to decide. When you decide the best course of action for opening and closing bidding times, be sure to clearly inform your guests.

Determine Pickup Logistics for Remote Bidders: 

When having remote participants in your events, make sure you sort out the logistics of winning bidders. Be clear on the pick-up location and time. If using AuctionSnap, this information can be included in your winning bid email alerts. If you don’t have the capacity for shipping, ensure participants are within driving distance of a pickup location. If you will offer shipping, make sure this is clear and you have a plan for it.

List Your Auction Items: 

Using your dedicated auction management system, list all of your auction items for your event. If you are using AuctionSnap, you can set starting bids, add different item types (buy-it-now, silent auction, live auction, etc.), create tags for easy sorting, and set custom bid opening and closing times. You will also want to include pictures of your auction items, this is especially important for remote participants. Make sure you have clear photos of your auction items to include in your listings. If they will be on display at your live auction you can include information about table numbers and location in your listings as well. 

Create a Communication Plan: 

Once you have listed your auction items, create a communication plan for your guests. If you have never held a hybrid auction before, you will want to reach out to your participants before the event and let them know how it works. You should have a custom link or landing page with your auction items; make sure you share this in your outreach to guests. Let them know what they will need to log in/participate. Also, at this time, share when bidding will open and close.

Enjoy Your Events and Raise More Money

With your nonprofit hybrid auctions streamlined through a tool like AuctionSnap, you will have more time to engage with your guests at events. All your hard work is done at this point and guests take bidding into their own hands. If you are holding a live auction or paddle raise at your event, you can do this simultaneously while the silent auction runs for both in-person and remote guests. In-app alerts will keep guests informed of where their bidding stands, and secure mobile checkout allows everyone to pay directly from their devices.

Final Thoughts

A hybrid auction can be a great fundraising opportunity for your nonprofit. You can easily make your nonprofit auctions hybrid with the help of an auction management system like AuctionSnap. AuctionSnap and similar tools support remote bidding and allow guests to bid from their mobile devices or desktops.

For a successful hybrid auction to take place, your nonprofit should know your audience and choose auction items that they will want to bid on. It is important to sort out logistics such as what auction items are available for remote bidding, pick-up details, and opening and closing times for your events. You should have a communication plan with your guests to let them know how they can participate in the auction and the logistics you have worked out.

A successful hybrid auction will allow more people to participate in your events and give you more time to engage with guests. The ultimate goal of a nonprofit hybrid auction is to raise more money at your events.